I headed to camp with my mother and wrote about family camp which was super fun and a great time that I spent with my mother in one of my favorite places ever.
After family camp finished I went straight into training mode. I have an entirely new respect for Jamie, P-nut, Andrew, and Meredith who have all lead teen staff training before. It is a ton of work and I never had down time because I was always running around trying to get things from the kitchen or asking someone a question or planning the next activity. Of course, like anything that is done for the first time, I felt like I could have done a much better job but I think overall it worked out well and that the crew felt ready to rock and roll this summer.
We had a week on camp and in the beginning trained with the teen staff that would be working in camp teen programs with trip guides. We went on the little Manistee river for one night and it was so cold. Fortunately, we rocked a nice wet fire and kept our spirits up. The following day we actually had really nice weather and Gabe and I enjoyed our some canoe time together to get to know each other. We also had fun watching the crew do an initiative on the water switching boats. Beckman later said that it was really just so he could get out of the somewhat busted boat he was it in. Nice motive.
A lot of teen staff training was playing games, brainstorming and sharing stories. I took everyone out to Birches on the first night we had everyone together and talked to them about the chakana, the southern cross symbol of the Incas and how we could all take it as a symbol of strength and balance which is what we all need throughout the summer. I gave them all their chakana keychains and we enjoyed taps and a campfire as the sun set over the lake. Symbols are an important part of our lives and that is what we talked about for taps, a question that is proposed to everyone at the end of the night so that we all get to know each other better. It was really interesting hearing what symbols meant to people. Taps has got to be one of the best things about camp. Many a tear has been shed and a smile cracked during taps as well as lessons learned and friendships and relationships tightened. It is a wonderful thing.
When regular staff training started and the teen staff headed off to join main camp staff, the trip guides and I started getting ready for our training trip. We had to pack food into gallon ziploc bags since the U-line 2 liters had not showed up to do the majority of food packing. It worked out well and we ended up having a great amount of food. I have never been so content with my food intake like I was on the training trip but I am sure it is because we measured more by gallon than by poundage. :) I also never remember being so comfortable with the weight of my pack. I think it's because the boys had a little something to prove with how much they could carry. Good for them, I definitely wasn't complaining!
Anyway, we were all set to go the upper peninsula and get going on the Big Two-Hearted River for the canoeing section and then hike 3 days on the North Country Trail. Unfortunately, (but really it worked out for the best) we were called my Meredith once we were in the U.P. who told us to make a left and head to the Porcupine Mountains for a 6 day backpacking trip since the East side of the U.P. had been affected by a huge forest fire. Rainbow Lodge, our outfitter, had burned down completely and there was no trip to be had there. We changed our route and headed to the West side of the U.P. to go on a wonderful backpacking trip. The funny part was that we were hauling a canoe trailer with 5 canoes. It was good driving practice for the new guides.
Relaxing in Little Carp River after a grueling 4 mile day. :)
Alex the Deer Whisperer
I faked a grand maul seizure and dislocated shoulder during our day hike on our layover day and they all handled it really well. I definitely think I could have incorporated more Wilderness First Responder scenarios in the training. We went over lots of things such as blister care and taking care of Joey's wrist which was continually wrapped but scenarios were few. I, personally, had tons of fun with a blister and some cuts on my hands that didn't want to heal. Fortunately, most of them had just finished their course.
After 6 wonderful weather days in the Porkies we headed to Mackinaw City. We celebrated with a night out on the town which was super fun. Overall, I had a really great time and it was really awesome seeing the next generation of guides coming into their own and getting pumped for the summer. It's already the start of 4th sesssion now as I am writing this but from the pictures I have seen I know that the trippers have had an awesome time all due to these amazing guides.